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Your employees spend a lot of time at the office! So, you want to be certain you’re fashioning the best work environment possible to help your workplace make your employees happy. If your space is lackluster and boring, chances are your worker happiness, creativity and efficiency will suffer. On the flip side, an inspired workspace will make them happier, healthier and eventually more productive.

Multiple studies have shown that productivity is directly related to employee morale. Happy employees are productive employees!

Many components influence overall employee happiness in the workplace: salary, management style, company culture and physical office environment are all among the principal factors that have an impact on happiness.

One the easiest ways to impact morale is with updates to physical workspaces.

Office fact: One of the earliest innovators of the modern office chair was Charles Darwin who added wheels to his chair to get to his specimens quicker while in his study.

Traditionally, office spaces were planned to provide personal space for a worker to have a “place for themselves” and some sense of independence. Over time, either due to space limitations or more project-related teamwork, the design of office spaces underwent changes with less cubicles and more common areas.

True, each worker still has an assigned desk or workstation with some aspect of privacy, but there are also places allocated for collaboration.

Office putting greens, classic subway cars and revolving bookcases are among the zany features that could be found in Google’s fascinating offices. Google is celebrated for its remarkable workspace designs. And while the offices may look cool, there’s a reason behind their grasp on workspace.

In this blog, we’re going to explore ways to make use of office space to create a well planned, more productive workplace that will make your employees happy.

Office common areas promote interaction

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Office common areas encourage exchanges among employees at work. Where workers come together, whether they merely need to pick up a printout or they’re taking a coffee break, often determine how teams form and bond.

Effective office common area layout design can assist this space in serving as a melting pot for ideas and afford opportunities for the exchange of information.

Identifying the importance of office common areas is the initial step in deciding what goals your company’s shared spaces will have.  

Planning your office layout

Sitting areas and break rooms with cozy seating and appropriate areas for working inspire workers to do their thinking in public in contrast to being closeted away in a cubical or secluded office. Such “public” thinking can be a fertile ground for growing new ideas, sparking spontaneous discussions and brainstorming, as well as creating unplanned collaborations.

You can plan these office common areas around functions and features that will draw employees together, such as printers, snack areas, coffee machines and high-traffic walking areas.

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Common areas lead to collaboration

We’ve all heard about an R&D company that started out as five people in the garage sitting around with a couple of folding chairs and tables. There was a sense of energy, a buzz. Something was happening. But as the company grew, it moved into larger, more conventional office space, with upper management in their private offices with windows and staff occupying a variety of cubicles.

But something else happened – they lost that energy. So, what was missing? We like to call it collaboration.

Collaboration, by definition, is “to work with another person or group in order to achieve or do something; to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor; to cooperate with an agency or instrumentally with which one is not immediately connected.”

The significance of collaboration in the workplace has been well-documented of late. It has been shown to boost employee satisfaction, lead to more effective problem solving, improve self-awareness, and contribute to a culture of ongoing learning.

What are the benefits of collaborative offices?

Info-graphic: Productivity Facts. Close work friendships boost employee satisfaction bu 50%. People with a best friend at work are 7x more likely to engage fully in their work.• Build a community on creativity and camaraderie. Maybe the biggest appeal for a collaborative office is the “collaborative” part: people simply work better when they are working with others. For example, a mobile app development start-up can connect with an ad agency and collaborate on a project. Or a law firm can access the facilities of an accounting agency. Collaborative offices produce an atmosphere that encourages an exchange of ideas and teamwork.

• Create friendly competition. With the friendly competition that will arise from a collaborative team environment, you will unintentionally encourage employees to compete for the best ideas. Friendly competition will only bring out more thought-out solutions.

• Develop momentum. When employees work with one another, they can develop a strong momentum that can allow them to get projects done more efficiently. Goals met quickly lead to happier clients, plus a greater ROI.

Info-graphic: Productivity Fact, Employees who report being happy at work take 10x fewer sick days than unhappy employees.

• Assure better office health. Workplaces that foster collaboration have been shown to lower stress while boosting employees’ overall mood. In today’s nerve-wracking and stressful world, it’s crucial to nurture meaningful relationships whether at work or at home.

• Encourage attendance. Knowing that your workmates are counting on you to finish a task or bring ideas to the collaborative work space table means that you will make every effort to be there.

• Achieve more energy. A career relegated to the four corners of an office cubicle can deprive an employee of momentum. With collaborative workspaces, employees can inspire one another and profit from a fast-paced environment. Working alongside people on the same wavelength can revitalize an employee’s determination and give them a boost.

• Gain access to more information. Co-working spaces are filled with hard-working, intelligent and inventive people all in one place. The volume of know-how and creativity that is shared in these spaces is one of the biggest benefits of a collaborative workspace, and a great reason why everyone should spend a bit of time working with them. Working with and getting to know people from all through the company allows a worker to soak up new ideas from others who are not normally in their network.

How to create collaborative workspace

Just because an office houses a numerous amount of people doesn’t mean it leads to healthy interface. Just throwing people into a shared space isn’t enough.

Many of the more forward-thinking organizations are recognizing the value of collaboration in the workplace, as two (or two dozen) heads are better than one when it comes to sharing ideas and innovations. And these days, collaboration means more than simply gathering in a conference room for an hour-long brainstorming session. Many firms are totally redesigning their workplaces to promote further communication and interaction among its employees.

Office Fact: People in the United State spend at least 1,896 hours per year at work. (Better make sure you get a comfortable chair from Tri-State Office Furniture) December Deal $99.00 Haworth Improv Task Chair.

What can you do!

As noted, office designs of the past have typically favored cubicles and segregated work spaces. You know the ones: rows upon rows of desks partitioned and separated. But, as we’ve also witnessed, such designs hinder collaboration and give rise to a high-stress work environment. And, really, will such office space persuade workers to appear at the office every day?

Enter collaborative spaces. These are well-defined areas where employees are encouraged to meet, share and, of course, collaborate!  These are not open offices, but rather spaces for various departments to connect in a neutral zone. They are the melting pot for ideas where workers of any department or position can consider suggestions without fear of ruffling any corporate feathers.

Such layouts on centered on the belief that the best ideas come from people getting coffee together or chatting at the copy machine. The goal here is to create “thinking” areas which persuade workers to do their thinking in the company of co-workers, rather than alone.

There’s a good reason open-minded companies design their offices with shared amenities and group areas – it’s a proven benefit for the entire company.

Include multiple workspaces. Your office calls for a mix of spaces to boost productivity and for employees to feel at ease. Truth is, an office full of individual desks or cubicles or only shared spaces won’t be successful, as people want to have the ability to be more collaborative, but also want some privacy and vice versa.

To ensure your office space will make your employees happy, give them a choice of where they want to be. A good mix might include individual desks, an open table, a breakout area and some smaller, private rooms to make a phone call without the whole office listening.

Provide quiet spaces. Some tasks demand silence and it may make your employees happy to have a space for a bit of seclusion. In order to provide employees with some respite, a quiet corner or open room could be walled off as a “quiet area.” These spots can still hold multiple employees at one time, but with the appreciation that this is a place to focus without interruptions.

Office Fact: The most popular exhibits during the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia were the New Office Equipment and Office Furniture exhibits.

Okay, by now, you probably have a pretty good grasp of the definition of a collaborative workspace – but what are the specific elements of such a space? An effective collaborative work space might include any number of innovations. Here are but a few examples:

Designated lounge areas: Communal lounge areas, which are often furnished with comfy couches offer employees a place to rest, unwind and connect. While these spaces will serve as a sort of escape from the everyday grind, they also afford a spot for employees to get together and problem solve in more stress-free surroundings.

Fluid floor plans: Here’s one trend in office design that’s on its on its way up — hot desking. With hot desking, workers take whatever desk is open, rather than having a permanent place of their own. Perhaps the biggest advantage is this allows employees to work near others who they might not usually see, giving a boost to idea sharing and teamwork.

Community tables: The name might give you a hint, if not, it’s a table that has no single owner or user, that can be used by anyone and everyone. The community table can be utilized for a variety of purposes and people can even create their own uses for it. Bringing people together to eat, chat and meet is critical. The community table encourages people to step away from their desks and spend productive time with colleagues. It’s also a great working space to give you flexibility in the way you work, and perhaps even somewhere to play board games or ping pong!

Office Fact: The idea of comfort was not in fact for the benefit of the employee. The thinking behind it was in fact that if the chair was as comfortable as functional as possible so that employees would stay in their chairs longer and therefore do more work!

You simply can’t put off updating your office any longer.

Today’s businesses enjoy more creative freedom when designing the workplace than ever before. To keep your employees’ morale, motivation and satisfaction at a consistent high, you need to create a more dynamic workplace that encourages cooperation and collaboration.

In conclusion, you should already be thinking how to include collaborative spaces into your office if you have not done so already. Happy employees are productive employees, and even small changes can spur emotional well-being.

You might simply begin by taking that empty cubicle in the corner and turn it into a small lounge area. Use that storage space in a more inventive, enticing way. Businesses do not need new facilities to make change but rather manage what they have more effectively. You may not need to make huge changes for your current workplace to make your employees happy!

Finally, if you’re looking for innovative and collaborative workspace furniture for your office, Tri-State Office Furniture offers a wide variety of high-quality furniture items to suit your company’s evolving needs.

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